Thursday, October 20, 2011

Intro to Wedding Photography

Earlier this month I got my first chance to play wedding photographer! I've known the bride (Shelly, my best friend's mom) for 15 years now and was so excited not only to get to be a part of her wedding, but also that she trusted me enough with such an important task despite my never having done it before.

The wedding was at the SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel in Pismo Beach which was lucky for me since the place is so picturesque, I could have completely screwed up and the photos would've still been beautiful. Most of the work was already done. It was a great place for a wedding, and I was glad to get to go on a little weekend vacation!

Anyway, I think it turned out fairly well! I definitely made a few mistakes and have several areas to work on, but it wasn't a complete disaster and I got a handful of shots that I'm (and, more importantly, Shelly) is really happy with. So overall, I consider my first dip into wedding photography a success!

The things I learned (I'm kind of photo-geeking out here, so feel free to skip if this is just a big pile of boring for you):
1. Man, shooting for 8-9 hours can be painful. Literally. My neck was sore from hanging 2 cameras on my neck the entire time. A full frame body with giant 70-200mm lens and attached external flash weighs roughly 6 pounds. That doesn't sound so crazy, but have you ever spent 8 hours walking around holding a 6 lb weight at eye level? It kind of wears on you. And gripping that whole contraption? My fingers were ready to fall off by the end of the night. Plus my feet got ripped to shreds (Can I pass that off as a photography-related injury and not acknowledge my stupidity in shoe choice? No? Nuts.).

(Seeing his bride for the first time- awww, it kills me!)

2. It's easy to make the dumbest mistakes when the pressure is on to get those fleeting, irreplaceable shots. You get as prepared as you can, and then BAM, everything is happening at once, the shots you want require you to be in 5 places at once, and it's easy to get into a frantic shoot-everything-in-sight thoughtless mess. I was able to stay calm and work my way through it most of the time, but I forgot to change my ISO settings twice and repeatedly limb-chopped throughout the day. Rookie mistakes, Patty, rookie mistakes...

3. Less equipment is more. I used 2 bodies, 3 lenses (although only 2 the majority of the time), a flash,  and 8 memory cards throughout the whole day. While I appreciated having multiple backup batteries and cards on me, I did not need to be lugging around a 10 pound bag of extra stuff I never even touched.

4. I'm deeply, deeply in love with the 70-200. What a beautiful lens. Which leads me to:

5. Lens rentals are amazing. At the end of the day, I have the shots I want and saved $2452. Until I am a gajillionaire, I shall use this service often.

6. I love weddings. If I ever want to do this professionally, I have to figure out how to not start crying when the bride walks down the aisle. I just can't help it. It's always so beautiful!!


So now I'm hooked on wedding photography! If you know anyone who's looking for a (very beginner) wedding photographer, feel free to pass on my name. :)

Shelly, you were a beautiful bride and I hope this is the beginning of many years of big happy family love! I love you guys!


Marianne said...

Great job!! What gorgeous pictures you took!! I'm very impressed. :)

Gremlins.Goblins said...

keep it up ! Good work :)

LizzyB said...

Wow, your pictures are better than the ones we paid $3000 for from a professional wedding photographer. Can't wait to call you (on skype) for camera tips when I get a camera someday!

Barbara said...

Lovely wedding pix, and interesting and practical comments about the gig! I just got a great deal on a used 18-200mm lens and am having a blast with it. Best,